Costco, like BJs and Sam’s Club, is known as a wholesale warehouse retailer. The hearing aid center at Costco has grown by more than 20% per year since 2011 and as of 2019 more than 11% of hearing aids purchased in America were purchased at Costco. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, Costco is easily the largest hearing aid retailer in America. They rate Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand highest based on value to the customer. As Costco continues to increase its buying power and market share in the hearing aid industry, it will likely also continue to be a leader in hearing aid sales for years to come.
Costco is a discount and wholesale warehouse that is well known for its careful selection of quality products while maintaining a buying power that allows it to pass down savings to its customers. With over 500 stores nationwide, most Americans have a Costco close by or at least within driving distance. Most, if not all, Costco stores have a hearing aid center onsite complete with either a state-licensed hearing aid dispenser or audiologist. You can find almost any style, many brands, and any technology level at Costco when looking for hearing aids. Often they are sold at the lowest prices out there.
The Kirkland brand of hearing aids is one of the biggest brands of hearing aids at Costco. They are manufactured by the Swiss company, Sonova, a brand known for quality and innovation. As mentioned above, the Kirkland Signature brand of hearing aids is usually at the top of the Consumer Reports lists in terms of value, customer satisfaction, and overall scoring. The Kirkland Signature 10.0 is the latest version of this hearing aid, and as you will read later in this article, it does not disappoint.
Costco’s hearing aid department continues to grow in popularity and sales, and the following article is a review of some of the most popular devices sold at Costco along with a list of pros and cons for purchasing a hearing device at Costco.
Details to Consider Before Buying
There is a lot to consider before buying a hearing aid, but there is a reason that Costco is the most popular hearing aid retailer in America. At Costco, you can purchase a month’s supply of paper towels, a storage shed for your backyard, all the produce you could want, and a high end hearing aid with a free hearing test. It is a truly unique store, but do not confuse variety with a lack of expertise. You will almost always find either a licensed hearing aid specialist or an audiologist that can help you choose the right device and offer after care and adjustments as well. It is also important to note that the highly regarded Kirkland Signature line of hearing aids can only be found at a local Costco store. The following is a more exhaustive list of pros and cons for purchasing your next hearing aid at Costco.
- The convenience of over 500 stores nationwide
- The price and value found at Costco is very difficult to beat
- Most Costco Warehouses have a wide variety of styles and brands including their own Kirkland Signature
- Costco’s massive buying power results in savings passed to consumers even on specialty items like hearing aids
- Most Costco hearing aid centers are staffed by licensed hearing aid specialists while some boast audiologists, meaning you get at least some level of expertise when you purchase a hearing aid at Costco
- Costco offers a 180-day return policy for most of their hearing aids
- Most Costco hearing aid departments also feature appointments for ear cleaning, free hearing tests, and follow-up appointments to make adjustments and ensure the device is working properly
- A warranty is included in most hearing aid purchases
- You can purchase almost anything you need at Costco, so follow-up visits can be scheduled when you need to make a grocery run
- Product demonstrations are common at Costco hearing aid departments
- Many Costco hearing aids offer remote services that can be handled by the licensed hearing aid specialist
- Free followup appointments after your hearing aid purchase
- Costco is the leading hearing aid retailer in America, and there is a reason for that
- You have to be a Costco member
- If you live in a rural area, there is a good chance you will not be close to a Costco
- There are no payment plans or financing options, no matter the price of the hearing aid, you need to pay it all upfront
- Costco does not necessarily carry the “latest and greatest” hearing aids in the world, for an option like the ReSound One, you will have to go elsewhere
- While you can usually find a hearing aid specialist at Costco, most established audiologists operate out of a private practice rather than a huge box store
- You have to schedule an appointment for the free hearing test prior to visiting the store
- You have to physically go to a store because hearing aids are not available to order online
Features & Benefits Of Each Model
Costco features a wide variety of brands and styles. Aside from their own Kirkland Signature hearing aids, Costco also sells certain models from respected global brands including: Rexton, ReSound, Phonak, Philips, and starting last year Jabra. Each brand offers its own strengths and weaknesses as described below:
The Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aid can only be found at Costco and it is one of the highest rated hearing aids by Consumer Reports. These rechargeable hearing aids are some of the best hearing aids on the market and are Consumer Reports “Best Value” for 2022. Some of the features found in the Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aids include:
- Stereo quality sound similar to high end headphones
- Easy, capable, and thorough Bluetooth connectivity to a lot of different devices
- Custom ear molds can be made and sold separately if needed
- Five different colors from which to choose
- You get two hearing aids, a cleaning cloth, cleaning brush, travel pouch, and a charger case with a hard cover all for one low price
- Automatically adjust settings to the environment that you are in with no work on your part
- Designed to optimize speech so that conversations are easy regardless of ambient noise
- Water and dust resistant
- One of the easiest hearing aids on the market to use
- The “Easy Line Remote App” allows you to adjust volume and settings from your smartphone…Android or IOS
- Tcoil compatible
- You can stream music and television directly to your device
- Remote servicing options are available for care after your purchase
You can only find the Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aid at Costco, and this device is one of the main reasons that Costco is the No. 1 seller of hearing aids in America. It is feature-rich, easy to use, and the sound quality is as high or higher than any other hearing aid on the market.
You can find the BiCore C R-Li and the M-Core series of Rexton hearing aids at Costco. Rexton was founded in 1955 and offers hearing aid options for people with mild to severe hearing loss. Their app is not as advanced or user friendly as some of the others on the market, but they are known for having some of the best accessories and connectivity out there. The company has been around for a long time and has a reputation for quality and durability.
The BiCore R-Li hearing aids are Rexton’s newest rechargeable model. When the base is fully charged, you can actually get up to three full days of charges without plugging the base back in. Knowing that your hearing aids can be charged conveniently even if the power goes out is a big deal and these hearing aids are very convenient for charging. The BiCore technology can separate and process speech and background noise so that you have a focused listening experience and can carry on a conversation in almost any environment. The sound quality is also one of the best on the market. You can stream directly to your iPhone or ASHA-compatible Android device. The M-Core hearing aids have similar capabilities, but use MotionCore technology to provide a high end listening experience. Some of the features you can expect with a Rexton hearing aid includes:
- Great charging options with the BiCore technology
- Custom fit or instant fit options depending on your preference
- A great app available on IOS or Android that allows you to control your hearing aid directly from your smartphone
- BTE, CIC, and custom fit options available
- Numerous Rexton accessories that allow you to stream television and audio directly to your device, give you wireless connectivity to many electronics, and offers you a “smart mic” option
- Remote services are offered so that the technician at Costco can adjust your device after the sale
- Separates background noise from speech and allows you to focus on the conversation that you are having right in front of you
- Directionality features that help you hear what is directly in front of you without the ambient noises
- Easy to clean and easy to use
The Jabra Enhance Pro is available at Costco and the brand prides itself in providing a personalized listening experience to each customer. Jabra is produced by the same company, GN, that produces the well-known ReSound brand of hearing aids. This company is well-known for being on the forefront of hearing aid technology which can be easily seen in the Jabra Enhance Pro. The Jabra Enhance Pro is one of the most technologically advanced hearing aids sold at Costco since they first went on the shelves on July 7 of 2021.
The Jabra Enhance Pro is one of the only Microphone and Receiver In the Ear (M&RIE) hearing aids on the market and is manufactured by the same company, GN, that also manufactured the first M&RIE hearing aid in the ReSound One. This M&RIE technology places a third microphone inside the ear canal along with the two that are outside which means that each ear has three separate microphones working together for optimal directionality. By placing a microphone in the ear canal, the Jabra Enhance Pro increases the directionality of the sound it receives because there are now three microphones working together, but more importantly it takes advantage of the natural and unique shape of each hearer’s ear to essentially customize the sound they are hearing.
- M&RIE technology is the only of its kind at Costco
- One of the most personalized hearing experiences on the market as the hearing aid uses the shape and contour of your ear to increase the sound quality and to make your listening experience exactly what your ear needs
- One of the most natural hearing experiences ever
- The Jabra Pro Enhance app is easy to use and pretty inconspicuous. You can adjust settings, volume, and control your hearing aids on your smartphone
- The app also has a “find your hearing aid” function if you ever misplace them
- A charging case and high end battery life helps to make sure your hearing aids never lose their charge
- It is much easier to hold a conversation regardless of the background noise with these hearing aids
- You get 8 color options along with 3 distinct models so that you can find the one that looks and works best for your situation
- Great wireless accessories available
- It streams iPhone and compatible Android devices with high-end headphone quality sound
- The Jabra Enhance Pro are easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to charge
- BlueTooth compatible
The Phonak Brio was built specifically for people with severe to profound hearing loss so sound quality, directionality, and volume control are going to be some of the most important features of these hearing aids. You get many of the same features and quality that you find with the other hearing aids found at Costco, but the Phonak brand caters to people who experience more profound and difficult hearing loss. They have options for people at all levels of hearing loss from those who are just beginning to experience hearing loss to people who hear very little without assistance.
- Custom and standard fit models available at Costco
- Can help with even the most profound forms of hearing loss
- Some people struggle with specific frequencies more than others, and the Phonak Brio can help with even the most difficult frequency loss
- A wide variety of wireless accessories can help with things like streaming music, watching television, listening over distances such as sermons or lectures, and conversations in noisy environments
- The Easy Line app gives you access to your hearing aids so that you can change volume and use features, but it also allows specialists to have access to your hearing aids when you need an adjustment
- Bluetooth connectivity comes standard with Phonak hearing aids
The Philips HearLink 9030 features Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that helps your hearing aid “get smarter” by learning how to hear speech in the middle of background and ambient noises. Once it can pick speech out of a noisy environment, it can emphasize that speech above other noises so that you can carry on a conversation with someone even when there is a lot of noise all around you. This hearing aid, of course, has other features including streaming capability, great sound quality, Bluetooth compatibility, and many options from which to choose. Philips hearing aids set themselves apart from the other options at Costco due to the AI technology. Here are some of the most important features of the Philips hearing aids:
- The AI technology means that your hearing aid will continually learn about your listening habits and will change as your needs change
- SoundMap technology processes sounds in a noisy environment and emphasizes the most important sounds to you
- Rechargeable and non-rechargeable options available
- BTE and open-fit BTE fit options available
- The Philips HearLink app is easy to use, allows you to control your hearing aids, and gives you control and access to features that would be difficult without the app
- Waterproof, easy to clean, and very easy to use
- New “SoundTie 2” technology gives you innovative connectivity to your Android or iPhone device along with other wireless capable accessories
- Multiple style and color options available
- Remote support available through Philips or Costco
Design/Type Of Hearing Aid
One of the best things about shopping for a hearing aid at Costco is that you can find any style, design, color, or quality of hearing aid that you could want. They carry Behind-the-Ear (BTE), On-the-Ear (OTE), In-the-Ear (ITE), In-the-Canal (ITC), Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC), Invisible-In-Canal (IIC), Over-The-Counter (OTC), and any other design you could want. They also offer models that are perfect for people with moderate to severe hearing loss and for those who are just beginning to experience hearing loss in certain frequencies. With specialists on site and a wide variety of hearing aid options, you will certainly find what you need.
Fit and Wearability
Almost every Costco hearing department has a licensed hearing aid specialist on staff to help with the fit and wearability issues that come with hearing aid use. There are two aspects of a hearing aid that are more important than anything else: comfort and improved hearing. Improved hearing has a lot to do with the features and quality of the hearing device mentioned primarily above. The fit and wearability, on the other hand, is a combination of how the hearing aid is made along with the assistance you receive from either a hearing aid specialist or audiologist.
Costco is one of the best places in America to be fitted for a hearing aid to ensure comfort and after-purchase care. There are plenty of hearing aids sold at Costco that can be tweaked and adjusted remotely which means that the onsite hearing specialist at Costco can adjust your hearing aid while you are at home. In addition, every style and fit of hearing aid you can think of can be found in one of Costco’s brands so that you can test out the comfort of each device prior to purchase. One of the best things about Costco is that you will have an expert guiding you every step of the way during and after your purchase.
Hearing aids at Costco cost less than the industry average. You can also get a complimentary, in-person hearing test from either a licensed audiologist or a hearing aid specialist as well as free remote follow up services with certain compatible devices. You have to be a member to receive these services, but the cost of membership is relatively low and the store carries great bulk products for a lower price than many similar stores. The bottom line is that hearing aids are expensive and most insurances do not cover them. Costco does not take insurance and it does not offer payment plans or any “pay as you go” service, but it does offer slightly less expensive hearing aids than most places because of their size and buying power. As far as cost goes, the Kirkland Signature is one of the best value hearing aids on the market in terms of price compared to performance and features. This model can only be purchased at Costco.
- Is Costco a good place to get a hearing aid?
Two of the biggest barriers that most people face when they need to purchase a hearing aid is the cost of the device and the quality of the listening experience it provides. Costco offers great prices because of their purchasing power. The complimentary testing and aftercare that is provided is an added benefit. They also offer a wide selection of high quality hearing aids from a variety of brands with different strengths and weaknesses.
- Does Costco accept health insurance?
Costco offers great and competitive prices, but they do not accept any form of insurance. If there is a possibility that your insurance carrier will cover hearing aids, you should visit another retailer first.
- Can you get a top-of-the-line hearing aid at Costco?
You can get some of the best hearing aids on the market from Costco. Of course there are certain brands and models of hearing aids that you cannot find at Costco including the ReSound One and Eargo. The Kirkland Signature, Jabra Enhance Pro, and Philips HearLink 9030 are examples of the high end hearing aids that can be purchased at Costco.
- Who makes Costco hearing aids?
Costco hearing aids are made by Sonova. Sonova is Phonak’s parent company and the world’s largest manufacturer of hearing aids.
There is a reason that Costco sells more hearing aids than any other retailer in America. Costco is convenient, inexpensive, and offers a wide variety of hearing aid products and accessories. They also usually have a hearing aid specialist to help you make your decision though you will probably want to consult an audiologist as well prior to making your purchase. One of the things that really sets Costco apart is their own Kirkland Signature line of hearing aids. The Kirkland Signature 10.0 is considered one of the top value hearing aids on the market and you can only purchase them at Costco.